The neck can play a major role in traumatic brain injury (TBI) symptoms. Frequently, accident victims believe they are suffering from a neck injury, such as whiplash, when it may be an underlying symptom of a concussion or more severe TBI.
Table of Contents
Neck Injury Symptoms That Can Indicate a Brain Injury
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms related to a neck injury, it may be a sign of something more serious, such as a TBI. Therefore, it is critical to see a doctor right away.
You may experience pain at the base of the skull or near the upper part of the neck, which causes headaches, nausea (with or without vomiting), light and sound sensitivity, and worsening pain with movement. Neck pain can show up immediately or may not appear for days or weeks after the accident.
Immediately after a neck injury, if you experience disorientation, as well as confusion, dizziness, and issues remembering the events leading up to the accident or the accident itself, it can signal a TBI.
Weakness or Tingling
If you feel a tingling sensation or weakness in your neck, arms, hands, fingers, or legs. You may also feel as if you cannot support the weight of your head.
Ringing in the ears, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, sound, smells, and movement, and/or problems with balance or coordination.
Changes in Sleep Patterns
You may feel fatigued or excessively drowsy, have difficulty waking, or be unable to fall or stay asleep.
Changes in mood and behavior, such as excessive irritability, anxiousness, or depression. These symptoms can lead to problems in relationships with friends, family, or at work.
TBIs are caused by a violent jolt or blow to the head. As a result, your head does not have to make contact with an object for a TBI to occur. When the neck is jerked rapidly, the force can be strong enough to place stress on the brain and cause damage.
Common Causes of Neck Pain That Can Be a TBI
The following accidents are common causes of neck injuries that may signal a traumatic brain injury:
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Car accidents are the number one cause of personal injury in the U.S. There are approximately six million collisions every year that result in three million injuries. A leading injury is whiplash, which when severe, can also be a sign of a TBI.
In any scenario that involves a collision between a moving vehicle and a person on foot, pedestrians are afforded no protection from the impact.
Falls are a leading source of brain injuries that exhibit neck pain. Older adults and young children are at a higher risk of suffering a TBI in a fall. Examples include falling on a slippery surface, downstairs, off a ladder, from a bed, etc.